What Do you Mean by “Informed Consent"? Ethics in Economic Development Research

February 25, 2021 - Author: Anna Josephson,

Josephson, A., & Smale, M. (2020). What Do you Mean by “Informed Consent"? Ethics in Economic Development Research. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.


The ethical conduct of research requires the informed consent and voluntary participation of research participants. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) work to ensure that these ethical standards are met. However, incongruities in perspective and practice exist across regions. In this article, we focus on informed consent as practiced by agricultural and applied economists, with emphasis on research conducted in low income and/or developing countries. IRB regulations are clear but heterogeneous, emphasizing process rather than outcome. The lack of IRBs and institutional reviews in some contexts and the particulars of the principles employed in others may fail to adequately protect research participants.


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